Home » Caribbean News » Trump’s America – Episode # 52 – Drug Lords

Trump’s America – Episode # 52 – Drug Lords

americas-drug-lords-in-trump's-america

Better Than Selling Illegal Drugs

By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Only the stupid traffic in illegal drugs in America.

The REAL money is in legal pharmaceuticals. Not only don’t you fear going to jail the government does all it can to make sure your profits are HUGE.

Everybody sing ….God Bless America land of the Greedy.

This week’s episode of Trump’s America offers a “nice” contrast to last week’s, about God Fearing Jeff Session’s WAR against LEGAL marijuana.

This week’s episode is about REAL drug trafficking, which neither President Trump, Jeff Sessions or anyone in Congress – leading Democrats included – is doing anything about.

This multi-headed Hydra has many components, far too many to cover in one episode of Trump’s America. So allow me to pick & choose and then cut to the underlying problem to all of it.

Three key components of Americans being taken to the pharmaceutical “cleaners” are the ever escalating costs of all drugs, the failure of genetic drug pricing, and the so called justification for outrageous pricing of new drugs.

Better add a fourth – Congressional legislation or the lack thereof.

Right now in this era of very low inflation and record profits, the drug industry is beginning 2018 with new widespread price increase for various drugs. Let me turn to media partner Financial Times here and an article from last Friday, January 5, 2018, titled:  “Drug Makers Risk Backlash in U.S. with Inflation-Busing New Year Price Rises.”

FIRST note, U.S. not worldwide – just United States! Here is how the article begins …

“Many parts of the US kicked off the New Year in the grip of the coldest temperatures in more than a century. But one thing that was not frozen was the price of drugs. In fact, on New Year’s day, many of the largest drug makers, including Pfizer, Allergan, and GlaxoSmithKline, raised the prices on thousands of products.”

ENCORE …. “ But one thing that was not frozen was the price of drugs. In fact, on new year’s day many of the largest drug makers, including Pfizer, Allergan, and GlaxoSmithKline, raised the prices on thousands of products.”

More …. “But they average around 10%, and they happen more or less every year.”

TEN percent EVERY year! For NO good reason but GREED! Something the drug makers cannot get away anywhere but in the United States.

Do you need to ask why? Because the U.S. is the ONLY “civilized” nation on Earth that does NOT control drug pricing. Why is that? Two reasons. Because we have the ONLY health care system completely predicated on the PROFIT motive and made worse by laws passed by Congress and Presidents that FORBID the government to negotiate prices even though the government ultimately pays the bills for hundreds of billion $$$ worth of drugs every year.

Now for some SICK “humor” from this FT article … “Now some investors are starting to ask whether raising prices with such abandon is actually a bad move for the industry, given that the topic has become a hot potato for politicians.”

RAISING PRICES WITH ABANDON!!!

Are you now ready for the Big Con from drug makers in the article?

“Drug Makers say they need to raise prices, they have to protect their profits so they can spend more money researching new medicines. And they also claim that middlemen, known as pharmacy benefit managers, are demanding ever greater rebates and pushing up the overall cost of drugs. Now that’s going to provide scant consolation for the millions of patients who are going to pharmacies.”

In other words don’t blame us … it’s everyone else’s fault!

CON!!

And as in most statement, there is some unintended Truth in their Lies …. President Trump and Congress could STOP them gouging Americans but won’t because, SURPRISE, they work for the Drug Industry in return for an endless flow of campaign dough and all kinds of other “benefits.”

I need to move on as I don’t have all day plus this article is FREE!

Let’s move on to generic drugs, meaning that many are supposedly no longer under patent protection or never were. Here should be an area ripe for competition in our CAPITALIST economy and another good way for these Greedy Drug Makers to make even more money.

WRONG again! For two reasons ….

Drug Makers severely ABUSE the U.S. patent system by applying for all kinds of BS “new” patents on drugs with expired patents, in effect “repatenting” them for many more years to come. Yes, all these bogus new so called patents which NEVER should be granted by OUR government in the first place are very vulnerable to patent challenges in court except ….

That is a very expensive process that takes years and years so why bother? And so most other Drug Makers or potential New Drug Makers never do, leaving the original patent holder as protected as ever to RAISE prices!

The second reason which of course is illegal but OUR government does nothing about it. These Drug Makers have a Gentlemen’s Agreement – not to mess with each others’ generic drugs since they each make so much $$$.

The third and final for now is that this scam is an extension of the two above. Some companies do buy the so called “rights” to these now generic drugs for Big Bucks for only one reason – to dramatically increase their price knowing others will not do the same.

Remember Epipens! Now let’s turn to what in some ways is a brand new kind of scam arising from new genetic advances, many funded by the government by the way – then handed over to Drug Makers as so called Miracle Cures.

Some very real!

Let’s focus on just one today, but it is very indicative of a scary new trend in pricing by Drug Makers, that might finally” collapse” this very BROKEN, so called health care system in America.

FIRST, before I forget to mention it, Obamacare did nothing at all to combat drug pricing. If anything, it gave the Drug Makers an even bigger market to feed their GREED. Even more, for 8 years of the Obama Presidency – even early when he had control of Congress – NO legislation was introduced to control drug pricing!

Indeed, as an example of his duplicity, President Obama signed a law requiring use of expensive Epipens, while cheaper options were available.

Back to the THIRD Drug Maker scam in this episode of Trump’s America…

So how are Drug Makers pricing these new Miracle Drugs? Not based on their supposed research costs or cost of production; NO hard numbers at all even though they make them up to suit their GREEDY purpose ….

Instead, a new “rationale” is taking place first for Miracle Drugs but guaranteed to then much more widely replace the “justifications” Drug Makers con us with as to why they “must” increase prices endlessly.

In this New Brave World, Miracle Drugs are being priced based on what the Drug Maker decides is the VALUE to patients and “society” of the new patent protected drug. Do I need to write more?

Connect the dots reader. So hypothetically, to make this crystal clear in case any of you are over medicated with high priced drugs fogging your mind … let’s say a Miracle Drug some Drug Maker “discovered” by complete accident cost them nothing no R&D to develop and likewise virtually nothing package or distribute but it “cures” to some extent a deadly disease or just slows down its progress what Drug Makers are beginning to do here in America of course is do so called “results” pricing which means …

The Drug Maker can decide anyway it wishes that this new Miracle Drug will improve the life and life expectancy of a typical patient with this disease and they decide that is worth at least $1 Million of life value to each patient. Further, without this new Miracle Drug it would cost another $1 Million in doctor, hospital and drug costs before that person dies from the disease.

So let’s see, if you were the Drug Maker, how you will calculate a results based cost for this new drug?. To begin, it is easily worth $2 MILLION for the required treatment for this new drug annually if it must be used indefinitely. On the other hand if this Miracle Drug only needs to taken once well they lose that “client” after one dose so let’s make its cost $4 MILLION!

Yes, this is a slight exaggeration for right now to make the point but … let me conclude with a real example that proves this new pricing problem .. Let’s return to media partner Financial Times and this article from January 3rd: “Drug Group Spark to Charge $850,000 for Blindness Gene Therapy.”

“Spark Therapeutics says it will charge $850,000 for its new gene therapy for blindness, making it the most expensive drug on the market and kick-starting a debate about the affordability of pioneering treatments.

“Jeff Marrazzo, chief executive of Spark, said the company would charge $425,000 for each eye for Luxturna, which recently became the first gene therapy to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“Unlike traditional drugs, which tend to be taken for months or years at a time, these gene therapies are intended to be one-off treatments that tackle a disease at its source, repairing faulty DNA so the body can fix itself.”

In various other articles Spark “justifies” its pricing based on results only not any attempt to use development costs as a factor as Drug Makers have traditionally and also offering further evidence Spark’s R&D costs if they mentioned them would produce even more outrage over cost of Luxturna.

Welcome to the New World of Drug Pricing guaranteed to bankrupt us. IMAGINE a Fantasy Word in which Spark announces we have a new Miracle Drug to cure a form of blindness that cost us very little to develop and which we can make a substantial profit selling for just $1,000 for the necessary one time treatment and that is what we will charge for it.

NOT in America as long as we have a GREED driven so called health care system and where the President and Congress “work for” the Drug Makers.

So what is the CURE I promised as the start of this episode? It is the one we already know is desperately needed – some form of REAL national health care based on a single payer model which will mean regulators will have the power to examine the true cost of health care and drugs and ONLY allow health care providers a fair profit rather than ..

BLACK mail us and hold us HOSTAGE under the current “system.”

Where are President Trump, Jeff Sessions and U.S. Congress when we need them? NO where to be found!

Time for CHANGE in America!

#####

(This entire series is dedicated in honor of China’s late Liu Xiaobo)

Arthur-Piccolo-ObamasAmerica

EDITOR’S NOTE: About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.